The age of 5G is upon us, even if it’s not coming to phones quite yet. Verizon has announced that it will begin offering home 5G internet service in a handful of cities starting next month. That’s the same network that will eventually service phones, but home internet customers will get the first whack. Verizon promises speeds of nearly 1 gigabit, and you can order service starting this Thursday (September 13) in select markets.
Verizon’s 5G service will launch first in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. If you’re in one of those cities, you might have access to 5G beginning October 1st. Because of the nature of 5G, only parts of the cities will have 5G-enabled towers at launch. If you are in a supported area, Verizon says your 5G service should run reliably at 300Mbps but can reach speeds of almost 1 Gbps when network congestion is low. It’s unclear if those are just download speeds or both up and down. Verizon does go out of its way to say the 5G internet service will have no data caps. I’m sure that’s something early adopters will put to the test.
While 5G standards are in the final stages of completion, Verizon says it didn’t want to wait until they were done to start planning its 5G home service. Thus, the 5G home internet offering will run on a proprietary version of the standard. This is less of a problem for a home-based 5G modem than it would be for a phone.
Verizon’s 5G operates on millimeter wave spectrum — Verizon’s slice of the airwaves is around 28GHz. That allows for a lot of data bandwidth, but the range of high-frequency signals is reduced compared with current LTE technology that maxes out around 2.5GHz. Any object passing between the local tower and your home antenna could interrupt the signal. Verizon says its technicians will install the necessary equipment and configure the Verizon router free of charge.
Verizon plans to charge $50 per month if you already have Verizon wireless phone service. Everyone else pays $70 per month. In either case, that’s less expensive than most services that claim to offer gigabit speeds. Verizon is probably taking a hit on the cost of service in order to get 5G service into as many homes as possible. This is as much about promoting its 5G network as it is about selling people 5G home internet. Verizon is also offering three months of YouTube TV to subscribers.
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